Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Arrest in ticket touting inquiry

Old Trafford
The man was arrested at United's Old Trafford ground

A man has been arrested in an investigation into ticket touting at Premier League football clubs.

The 32-year-old man from Blackburn was seized at Manchester United's Old Trafford ground during their Champions League game against Lyon.

He was held on suspicion of fraud, ticket touting and money laundering. Two houses in Blackburn were searched.

The inquiry centres on tickets from top clubs being sold at inflated prices through a website.

The man was arrested by police from Lancashire acting on behalf of the Metropolitan Police.

The investigation, which started last October, was funded by the UK football policing unit working with the Football Association and the Premier League.

The fans are the ultimate victims
Football Association

The Metropolitan Police said the investigation, which was continuing, uncovered "hundreds of tickets being sold illegally at high prices".

Officers believe the scale of the alleged fraud could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

A spokesman for the Premier League said ticket touting, particularly on the internet, was a growing problem for clubs and fans.

"Ticket touting is being done on a more corporate level and we need the continued support of the government and the authorities in order to deal with it," he said.

"The Premier League and their member clubs work very closely with the relevant authorities to ensure that ticket touts are targeted and dealt with."

The Football Association said legislation was strong enough to deal with touting, but needed to be applied properly by making arrests.

Fan segregation

"The fans are the ultimate victims," a spokesman said.

"There are countless examples of fans buying tickets for a game and discovering they are not real. The internet is the main source of ticket touting."

While the focus of the football authorities is on fans being ripped off, the primary reason touting is banned at matches is to keep rival fans apart.

Football ticket touting is illegal under anti-hooligan measures in the Violent Crime Reduction Act.

Det Sgt Will Hodgson, of the Met Police public order crime team unit, said: "Ticket touting is not only illegal but it can lead to an increase in violence at football games, primarily through segregation breakdown.

"Genuine fans should not buy tickets from touts as they are potentially fuelling violence and lucrative criminal activity."

It is illegal to sell tickets outside a football ground and anyone caught can be fined up to 5,000.

video and audio news
Man arrested at Manchester United match

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